Sluice Box Adventures

Believing Bible Study in the 21st century

The Foundation Was Established

Psalm 12:6-7 “The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.

It has long been asserted by those in the best position to know, that General Washington insisted on being baptized by Chaplain Gano.

George Washington’s Baptism - The Circumstantial Evidence

Old Paths Baptist Mission © 2011 Richard St.James

God In American History

George Washington's Baptism

By L.C. Barnes - Richard St.James, Editor

Research performed by Richard St.James at William Jewell College Library in Liberty, Missouri, March 21, 2008
The following is intended by this editor to be a copy [except for spelling update and/or conversion corrections] of the Bulletin of William Jewell College, Series No. 24, September 15, 1926, No. 1, By L.C. Barnes, "Entered April 2, 1909, at Liberty, Missouri, as second-class Matter under Act of Congress of July 16, 1894."

The John Gano Evidence of George Washington’s Religion

The Circumstantial Evidence - Part 3


Washington was intimately acquainted with Gano. There is no evidence that the two men had met before the war. But, it is suggestive to find by careful comparison of accounts, that, in that exceedingly interesting period of Washington’s life which was spent in the Shenandoah Valley, Gano was sent by the Philadelphia Association as a missionary to that very spot. Exact dates are painfully infrequent in Gano’s ”Memoirs”.

But persistent examination, with occasional help from the minutes of the Association, show that he made not less than six missionary journeys to Virginia and North Carolina. Backus said of him, in a general way;

“He has been the most extensive traveler to preach the gospel of any man now living in America. Going and coming, between 1754 and 1758, Gano must have crossed Washington’s fresh tracks in the Shenandoah region, not less than seven times. If they avoided meeting in those four years they must have almost taken pains to do so. Neither of them went through on Pullman express trains. Both of them had serious public business which kept them occupied there for weeks, and months at a time. It was a sparsely settled region, and a brilliant young preacher from the North was doubtless the county talk. Washington may at least have heard of him, if he did not hear him. The young Colonel was at that time in repeated letters p1eading with the government of Virginia to send him a Chaplain, promising that, if need be, the officers would personally provide the support. Gano could not have failed to hear of Washington there although he has left no direct mention of it in his “memoirs”. The following paragraph, however, concerning this time and region, is significant in several particulars, illustrating, withal, the missionary’s ready wit: “I returned way of Ketockton or Blue-ridge, where the inhabitants are scattered.

On my return I observed a thunder storm arising, and rode speedily for the first horse. When I arrived, the man came running into the house, and seeing me, appeared much alarmed: there being at that time great demands for men and horses for Brad- dock’s army. He said to me; ‘Sir are you a press-master?’ I told him I was. ‘But’, said he, ‘you do not take married men.’ I told him, surely I did; and that the master I wished him to serve was good, his character unimpeachable, the wages great, and that it would be for the benefit of his wife and children, if he enlisted. He made many excuses, but I endeavored to answer them and begged him to turn out a volunteer in the service of Christ. This calmed his fears; and I left him, and proceeded on my journey to Ketockton, where I spent some time, and baptized Mr. Hall.”

Mr. Gano’s introduction to the knowledge of General Washington near the beginning of the revolutionary war was a most favorable one. The pastor of the First Baptist Church in New York, and the Commander of the army, may have become acquainted before they were together driven out of the city by the British in 1776. The Americans were forced northward from point to point after they left the town. Finally the chief stand was made near White Plains, and a sharp battle was fought, the thickest being on a bluff, called Chatterton’s Hill. J. T. Headley, the historian of Generals and battles, thus describes this conflict and Chaplain Gano’s part in it:

“As soon as (the British General) got his twelve or fifteen pieces of artillery within range he opened on the American lines. The heavy thunder rolling over the heights carried consternation into the ranks of the militia, and as a round of shot struck one of their number, mangling him frightfully, the whole turned and fled. Colonel Hazlet tried in vain to induce them to drag forward the field pieces so as to sweep the ascending columns, but he was able to man only one and that so poorly that he was compelled to seize the drag ropes himself. But he was denied the gratification of using even his one gun, for as it was being slowly trundled to the front a ball from the enemy’s batteries struck the carriage, scattering the shot in every direction, and setting fire to a wad of tow. In an instant the piece was abandoned in terror. Only one man had the courage to remain and tread out the fire and collect the shot. - After a little time McDougall found only six hundred of the fifteen hundred with which he commenced the fight left to sustain the shock of the whole British army. - It was on such as this the fearless chaplain gazed with bursting heart. As he saw more than half the army fleeing from the sound of cannon – others abandoned their pieces without firing a shot, and a brave band of only six hundred manfully sustaining the whole conflict, he forgot himself, and distressed at the cowardice of his countrymen and filled with chivalrous and patriotic sympathy for the little band that scorned to fly, he could not resist the strong desire to share their perils, and eagerly yet involuntarily pushed forward to the front.”

Gano himself describes the event very modestly, almost deprecatingly,

“My station, in time of action, I knew to be among the surgeons; but in this battle, I somehow, got in the front of the regiment; yet I durst not quit my place, for fear of dampening the spirits of the soldiers, or of bringing on me an imputation of cowardice. Rather than do either, I choose to risk my fate. This circumstance, gave an opportunity to the young officers of talking; and I believe it had a good effect upon some of them.”

We can easily understand that not only “the young officers”, but the older ones as well, gloried in the bravery of the Chaplain. It is a matter of history that Washington witnessed that battle from his stand on a neighboring hill. Gano followed Washington’s army in its memorable retreat across the Delaware. The next year we find him at Fort Clinton on the Hudson standing on the breast works with the bullets whistling about him. He was in the Western campaign of 1779 against the Indians.

In 1781, he was at Yorktown to rejoice in the decisive victory there. Three winters Washington’s headquarters were at Morristown, N. J. where Mr. Gano had once been a pastor of the Baptist Church and where his father-in- law, John Stiles, Esq. was a well-to-do and well known patriot, being for several years mayor of Elizabethtown not far away. The last two winters of the war, Commander’s headquarters were at Newburg on the Hudson and at Windsor nearby. In that vicinity was Gano also, even when not on duty, for his family during the Revolution lived at Warwick, half way between Morristown and Newburg, only twenty-five miles from each.

Finally the glad hour came for the proclamation of the cessation of hostilities. On the 18th day of April, 1783, Washington issued his orders for a grand celebration of the event the next day. It was the completion of the long struggle, the crowning act of the war. It is said that the morning dawned with the booming of cannon all a1ong the shore from West Point to Newburg. There was all the noise and parade of military jubilation. But the point of the day concerning which Washington issued particular orders, as the high light of the whole day and the consummation of years that had gone before, was the service at twelve o’clock on the steps of a new public hall in New Windsor. Here is the description of an eye-witness, from the journal of James Thacher, one of the surgeons of the army.

”On the completion [April 19th] of eight years from the memorable battle of Lexington, the proclamation of the Congress for a cessation of hostilities was published at the door of the pubic building, followed by three huzzas after which a prayer was offered by the Reverend Mr. Gano and an anthem was performed by voices and instruments.”

At the supreme moment, when the long deferred, hopes of Washington were at least realized, and announced, the man chosen to carry the cause of America to the God of nations in thanksgiving was John Gano.

Is it incredible that, during some of these preceding months of comparative military inactivity along the banks of the Hudson, that same Chaplain had pointed out to his beloved General the duty of obeying exactly the orders of the supreme Commander of men? It would be almost incredible if he had not. Baptists in those days not only held their views, but also taught them aggressively, and believed that they were guilty if they did not. The Chaplain of Chatterton’s Hill was not the man to hold back before the face of any mortal cause which he deemed God’s cause. He had, too, the zeal of convictions which had been strong enough to bring himself from the Presbyterian to the Baptist ranks. He was not only bold and earnest, but also daft and happy in imparting pointed instruction. An officer uttered profane sentence in his presence and then said, “Good morning, Doctor.” ”Good morning, Sir”, replied the Chaplain, “you pray early this morning?” – “I beg your pardon, Sir,”said the officer. The Chaplain’s next rapier thrust went deeper. “Oh, I cannot pardon you, carry your case to God.” He was not only bold, earnest and keen, he was also a man of remarkable persuasive power with truth. One of his neighbors in New York, Rev. Mr. Bowen, an Episcopalian rector, said of him that ”Mr. Gano possessed the best pulpit talents of any man that he ever heard,”

Is it incredible that the man chosen to be the Chaplain of the proclamation of peace for the Nation may have been chosen by Washington also to be the minister of his personal adjustment to a plain teaching of God’s Word countersigned by his own prayer book and Bishop?

An inductive study of circumstantial facts seems to obliterate a priori assumptions against the baptism of General Washington by Chaplain Gano. That leaves the testimony of Gano’s children to stand at full face value. R. M. Gano in a letter to the First Baptist Church, New York, of which John Gano was pastor during its first quarter of a century printed in its souvenir volume, names it puts beyond question one thing and that is the only important of two other Revolutionary War families besides his own as having handed down knowledge of the event.

The estimate of the evidence available may depend largely on the predilections of the people who consider it. But whatever else the evidence proves or fails to prove, it puts beyond question one thing. Contemporaries of George Washington, who were close enough to him to see the real man, believed, him to be such an intense Christian that he might perform an unpopular religious act out of sheer personal loyalty to Jesus Christ, and John Gano was a revered minister of Washington’s highest ideals.

This college chapel, dedicated in the sesquicentennial year of our country to the memory of John Gano, is a visible monument to the fact that intense personal religion is at the basis of all character-building both national and personal.

John Gano was one of those elemental characters who belongs to all times. Back in the 18th century, without the lingo which we use in describing our particularly modern conception, we think, (Christianity as the divine force for redeeming all social relationships as well as individual souls,) he was so keen a Christian in its eternal realities that he said it in a way which might well be inscribed on the walls of this twentieth century chapel and drilled into the life- purpose of every student who enters these halls of learning during the 20th and all succeeding centuries. In the first sentence of his brief autobiography, written in compliance with the request of his family that he leave some memorials of his life, he modestly says:

”I should much more cheerfully undertake the task had I spent my life to better purposes and more faithfully in the services of my God and society, both civil and social, to which I have long since considered myself inviolably to owe every part of it.”


Go to: Learn History Menu

Men Never Learn From History!

It is a heart problem!

 Men refuse to learn the lessons afforded by the light of HISTORY:

 the recorded historical events which occurred as fulfillment of Bible prophecy. Now, these are the basic truths with which we all must deal with one way or another!

Two Basic Reasons For Our Failing Our History Lesson!

The Removing Of The Anchoring Landmarks
We have steadily almost imperceptibly at times removed one by one the great principles that were part of the formulation of the United States of America.

We have been busy for generations removing the anchoring landmarks that came as a result of the revivals God blessed this country with in its early years by the preaching of the word of GOD.

We have disobeyed the commandment in Proverbs 22:28- Remove not the ancient landmark which thy fathers have set.

The Departure from the BIBLE
What was the catalyst or reason for this downward spiral? Are you ready! The eyes of men everywhere had been clouded over with cataracts because of our apostasy or departure from the BIBLE … God’s word (and more exactly including the multiplicity of translations and corruption's to God's written word).
This apostasy began in America in the BIBLE SCHOOLS early in the last century (1901) when Philip Schaff (with other rank liberals who had rot-gut unbelief in God's word within their hearts) colluded with the English RV committee of 1885 (Westcott and Hort) to produce the American Standard Version (ASV), also known as the Rock of Bible Honesty by the scholars, or more accurately, by Bible believers, as a prime example of a new age version of a corrupted bible.

Baptist Heritage

It is to the Baptists ... that we owe primarily ... our religious freedom, and it is Roger Williams [of Rhode Island] in particular, that is the most important contributor of our religious freedom we enjoy in the United States of America.
The Bloody Tenet of Persecution for Cause of Conscience is the primary document, which provided the underlying principles for religious freedom, which in turn gave rise to the then future documents of The Declaration of Independence, The United States Constitution and The Bill Of Rights.